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Southwest Mobile Storage - Best Mobile Storage & Office Containers In Ventura Business District, CA

Southwest Mobile Storage is a family-owned shipping container business founded in 1995. Our strength for more than 25 years comes from the specialized knowledge and passion of our people, along with serving over 24,000 commercial, construction and residential customers. Our facility and expertise in maintaining, manufacturing, and delivering corrugated steel containers is unrivaled in the industry.

While the rental side of our business is regional with branches throughout the Southwest, our container sales and modification operations are nationwide and becoming global. Ventura Business District, CA offers a wide selection of portable offices and mobile storage containers you can rent, buy or modify.

Our experts in container rental, sales and customization are committed to providing you the highest quality and best experience from service to delivery - our reputation depends on it.

Whether your need is for storage, office space, moving, multi-purpose or custom use, we've got your back. Here's how:

Storage Containers Ventura Business District, CA

NO MATTER YOUR NEED, WE'VE GOT YOUR BACK.

STORE AT YOUR LOCATION

We bring your storage container to you for convenient, easy access at your home, business or jobsite. Plus, you'll get more choice in storage space and better security, for a fraction of the cost of a pod or add on building, saving money and energy.

STORE AT OUR LOCATION

Not enough room to keep a storage container at your business, home or construction site? No problem - we can store it for you. Plus, you get 70% more space and better security, for a fraction of the cost of public storage units.

CUSTOM STORAGE

Need a permanent storage solution for your business, residence or construction? We sell new and used shipping containers in many sizes with a variety of add-ons. Or customize a container to your specific storage needs with our certified fabrication experts.

LOCAL MOVE

Take your time packing with our moving containers. We'll deliver to your business or home and pick it up whenever you're ready to move. So, you don't have to stress about moving or making multiple trips in one day, like if you rented a moving truck.

LONG-DISTANCE MOVE

Our moving container solutions ensure the long-distance move of your home or business is highly efficient and affordable throughout the southwest. In fact, we usually cost 20%-40% less than full-service movers.

MOVING & STORAGE

We understand move-in and move-out dates might be different. We can store your moving container at our highly secure facilities until you're ready to move to your new home or business location, and you can conveniently access it at any time.

OFFICE USE

Whether you need a workspace, conference room, or other office requirement, our ground-mounted mobile offices meet any and all of your business needs. Plus, it's faster and easier than building additions.

BUSINESS USE

If you need your shipping container to serve multiple uses, such as office-storage combos, breakrooms and even utilities, we've got you covered. We'll modify a custom container to fit your business needs and bring your business to the next level

CUSTOM USE

We'll create a custom container to fit your unique needs anywhere in the US. With our container modification expertise, we make any idea a reality. From pop-up stores to multi-story structures, our unrivaled facilities and fabrication experts do it all.

You'll get your own dedicated storage and container expert to serve as your one point of contact for easy, convenient service you can trust.
With our wide selection of intermodal containers for sale and rent, you'll find exactly what you need, from size, to type and condition.
We maintain our rental fleet to the highest standard - our integrity depends on it.
Our certified, experienced Conex container modification experts have more than 500 years combined experience modifying ISO containers.
All of our containers come with high security dual-locking system for no additional charge, so you can rest assured your stored items stay safe and that you don't have to pay extra for it.
icon-scale
At our unrivaled 90,000 sq ft indoor fabrication facility, ensuring your custom shipping container is made exactly to your specifications.
With our level of service, quality and expertise, you won't find a better value anywhere else.
Our portable offices include lighting and electrical outlets, internet hookups, HVAC and were crafted by our in-house steel container fabrication experts for top-quality construction.

Premium Quality - High Security

With Southwest Mobile Storage, you get much more than a POD or typical Conex box. You also get high security, unparalleled service and unmatched container modification expertise and facilities. No other company offers that much.

Shipping containers and storage containers come in a range of sizes. The most common external lengths are 20ft and 40ft with a width of 8ft. ISO Containers are typically 8ft 6in tall, but high cube containers are 9ft 6in tall. We also have steel containers in a variety of sizes from 10ft long to 45ft long to rent or buy, and we can modify shipping containers into any size you want.

 Rent Storage Containers Ventura Business District, CA

SMS Mobile Storage Containers have these high quality features:

1/8" thick steel plate bottom side rails
High strength steel supporting cross members
1 1/8" thick hardwood floor with galvanized self-tapping screws
16-gauge corrugated steel walls
16-gauge roof
270-degree swing cargo door(s)
High security dual-locking system*
Spot-grinded, primed & repainted with a beige high-grade water reducible alkyd direct-to-metal enamel*
* Comes standard on all rental units

SMS portable workspace containers have these structural features:

High security window bars, lever & deadbolt set with lock box
Studs & R-19 Insulation covered with wood paneling
1 1/8" marine board floor is covered with a durable single part gray epoxy coating
Dual pane low-E horizontal sliding windows with screens and miniblinds
18 Gauge steel polystyrene core 3-hour fire rated personnel door
All of our workspaces are manufactured in-house and arrive new or restored to factory specifications
Exterior load center operating on 100 Amp single phase 230 Volt power
Light switch, receptacles and 4' light fixtures; all wiring is Romex 12/2
CAT-6 voice and data lines with electrical junction box
HVAC units ranging from 1 ton to 2 ton on rentals; ability to customize up to 10 tons of cooling

Having flexible storage containers options is important, but security is crucial to protect your peace of mind and your possessions.

At Southwest Mobile Storage, we don't believe in leaving things to chance. We want you to rest easy knowing your inventory, documents, tools, equipment and other items are safe 24/7. That is why we equip SMS high-security slide bolt locking systems and lockboxes on our entire fleet of rental freight containers.

EVERY ONE OF OUR MOBILE STORAGE CONTAINERS FOR RENT IN Ventura Business District, CA, INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING SAFETY MEASURES:

High-security slide-bolt locking system and extra-long lock box, giving you twice the security and peace of mind.
No holes to ensure your rental shipping container is wind and water-tight.
No rust for your safety.
14-gauge corrugated steel for strength and reinforcement.

Contact us to speak with a helpful, friendly representative to better understand our full range of capabilities. We are happy to answer any questions you have, go over pricing and set up a time and place to deliver your Conex box. Our quotes are 100% free and you are under no obligation to pay for your consultation.

COMMERCIAL STORAGE CONTAINERS TO RENT, BUY OR MODIFY IN Ventura Business District, CA

When you own a business or manage one, it's crucial to have efficient, affordable ways to store inventory and supplies, whether it's to grow your business or adapt to changes in the market, like the many caused by the pandemic.

Renting storage containers to keep at your business eliminates the cost and hassles of sending your staff to offsite storage facilities. Steel containers with roll up doors make storing and retrieving items faster and easier. Auto repair shops and other businesses that need easy access throughout the workday to secure storage for tools, parts, equipment or supplies find renting shipping containers to be the best solution for their business storage needs. Southwest Mobile Storage has your back.

 Storage Containers For Rent Ventura Business District, CA

Renting portable offices gives your business more workspace, breakrooms, pop up stores, security booths and more, without the cost and red tape associated with constructing building additions. Plus, a steel storage container fits neatly into one parking space and provides much stronger security than Pods and way more convenience than self-storage units.

If you have a specific need, we can modify shipping containers to build whatever you need to grow your business. Whether it's a portable workspace to run your business, like a pop-up container bar, or a durable facility for scientific research, like a container laboratory, or even a container gym, our unrivaled fabrication facility and modification experts got you covered. Our full-time, in-house staff of certified welders, engineers, electricians, carpenters and painters have over 500 years combined experience modifying thousands of container projects for just about any business use you can imagine.

WHETHER YOUR BUSINESS IS COMMERCIAL, HEALTHCARE, GOVERNMENT OR EDUCATION, OR YOUR INTEREST IS TO RENT, BUY OR MODIFY SHIPPING CONTAINERS, SMS HAS YOU COVERED:

One
Offsite storage alternatives cause a mess of hassles and headaches. Expanding office space and storage capacity at your location saves time, money and hassle of making multiple trips offsite.
We offer more choice in security, size and features in steel Conex boxes or ISO shipping containers than a public storage unit or Pod for less cost and far greater service.
We offer flexible, month-to-month rental agreements and prorate by the day after your first 28-day billing cycle.
With us, you get a dedicated account manager you can rely on, so you can focus on running your business than waste time with a different person every time you call that doesn't know or care as much.
While other companies may have some staff for modifying containers, most outsource the work, so you don't know who is actually doing the modifications or how much they're marking up the price.
 Mobile Storage Containers Ventura Business District, CA
When you modify a shipping container for your business, you won't have to worry about expensive, lengthy and complicated construction.
We have modified thousands of containers nationwide and internationally for more than 25 years for NASA, US Navy, GCP Applied Technologies, Helix and Sundt to name a few. And rent containers to Amazon, Walmart and many of other nationally recognized brands.
Our extensive staff makes it possible to custom build multiple projects simultaneously and our 90,000 sq ft indoor fabrication facility prevents contaminants from interfering with fabrication, which delivers better quality and precision.

CUSTOM CONTAINERS FOR YOUR HOME IN Ventura Business District, CA

Building additions to your home can be very expensive and requires going through the hassle of securing permits and waiting for construction. You can save money, time and stress by modifying a shipping container instead. Whether you need additional space for a home gym, recreation or storage, we can convert steel containers into anything you can imagine. Our custom container gyms, man-caves or she-sheds, garages and more give you the extra space you need without the hassle, cost and wait that comes with home renovation.

Renting shipping containers for temporary storage, either when moving or dealing with restoration from a fire or flood, provides a secure, convenient way to keep your belongings close for accessing them whenever you need to. Plus, renting mobile storage containers for moving costs less than traditional movers and allows you to take your time packing, reducing the stress that comes from moving. You can also rent portable offices for your home to make working remotely distraction-free.

 Rent Shipping Containers Ventura Business District, CA

HERE'S WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE US TO RENT, BUY OR MODIFY A SHIPPING CONTAINER FOR YOUR HOME:

With an extensive in-house staff and 90,000 sq ft container modification facility, we're able to deliver consistently high quality and work on multiple projects simultaneously for a fast turnaround.

Other companies don't have the facility, staff or resources to modify shipping containers and will outsource the work to various shops who may not have the special experience or tools needed to modify the right way.

You can rest assured knowing your custom container is safe in our hands. Our certified weld and quality control inspectors ensure everything is structurally sound and built to your specifications through every step of the process.

Renting a moving container from us makes your move much less stressful because you won't have to rush to pack your whole house into a moving truck in one day. Instead, you can take your time packing over the course of a month.

Our ISO shipping containers are weatherproof and come with vault-like security, so you don't have to worry about theft or damage to your belongings.

You won't get that level of security from U-Haul or other moving truck companies.

Renting a storage container at your home keeps your belongings close and gives you convenient 24/7 access, so you're always able to retrieve the contents of your container when you need to.

We know move in and move out dates don't always line up. We can store your packed rental container at our secure facility until your new home is ready.

With our mobile storage containers for rent in Ventura Business District, CA, you can save up to 40% when compared to full-service long-distance movers, while gaining more flexibility in your schedule.

MOBILE STORAGE CONTAINERS & PORTABLE OFFICES TO RENT, BUY OR MODIFY IN Ventura Business District, CA

We know your needs may change suddenly. With our extensive inventory and variety of sizes of portable offices and shipping containers to rent, buy or modify in Ventura Business District, CA, we provide fast service and the best value possible so it's easy for you to get whatever you need when you need it.

Renting storage containers and portable offices from us gives you more flexibility when it comes to your schedule and options. If you don't have enough space at your current location or simply would prefer offsite storage, you can keep your rental storage and office containers at your location or ours - whichever is most convenient for you. You also get more options to choose from when it comes to size and features, like portable offices with divided rooms for private meetings or office/storage combos for storage and office space in one container. All while costing a fraction of the price of a pod or self-storage facility.

You can also buy new or used freight containers from us and choose from a variety of add-ons, including lights, electricity, doors and windows. Or fully customize a shipping container to save time, money and energy by skipping the expensive, lengthy process of constructing building additions. We can modify a Conex box into whatever you can imagine for any use you need, from construction tool cribs to office buildings, monitoring stations, mobile communication towers and much more. The possibilities are endless.

HERE'S HOW WE'VE GOT YOUR BACK:

You'll never face hidden fees or surprises with us. We give you transparent billing up front at the best prices.

With us, you get a reliable, dedicated point of contact, who keeps you updated every step of the way. You can rest assured knowing you'll always get what you need, when you need it.

No other company has the breadth and depth of staff and experience that we do when it comes to modifying shipping containers. Our certified welders, engineers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters and painters have more than 500 years of combined experience in fabricating custom steel containers.

We prorate your rent by the day after the first 28-day billing cycle, so you don't have to pay for a full month when you only have your mobile containers and offices for a few days.

While other companies may be able to do small container modifications, most don't have an in-house fabrication staff or 90,000 sq ft fabrication facility like we do. As a result, they outsource the work on your custom container, so you don't know who's actually building it.

Rest assured knowing your modified shipping container will be built to the highest quality standards. Our certified weld and quality control inspectors check every step of the fabrication process to ensure everything is structurally sound and built to your specifications.

HOW RENTING A STORAGE CONTAINER AND MOBILE OFFICE WORKS

Whether you're in need of a storage container for your commercial business, a portable office for your construction site, or a moving container for your home, our process is simple and straightforward.

Choose Your Container

Choose the mobile storage solution that works best for your needs. In this step, you will let us know the number of containers you need, their sizes and what types of doors to equip.

Choose Your Options

Let us know if you would like to add any of our rental options, like a folding table or shelving.

Choose Your Security

Choose from padlocks, puck locks and other enhanced security options. All of our storage containers come standard with dual-locking, vault-like security.

Choose Your Delivery Timeframe

You can expect standard delivery within 3-5 days of your order. If you need expedited delivery, we will do everything in our power to accommodate your needs.

Pick-Up Planning

Do you need to keep your shipping container at our location? Prefer to have our team deliver your packed container to a location of your choice? Let us know, and we'll be by your side to work out the logistics.

HOW RENTING A STORAGE CONTAINER AND MOBILE OFFICE WORKS

1

DETERMINE DESTINATION

Let our team know where we should deliver your mobile storage container for rent in Ventura Business District, CA. Be sure to let us know if there are any special conditions that might prevent our drivers from entering your chosen destination. Before you schedule your delivery, let us know which direction you would like the doors of your container to face.

2

SCHEDULE DATE & TIME

Our drivers can deliver your storage container Monday-Friday, between the hours of 6AM and 2PM local time. Our two-hour delivery window is the most precise in the industry. If you desire another delivery time outside of our standard delivery options, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. As a courtesy, our driver will call you at least 30 minutes before they arrive at your drop-off destination.

3

PREPARE FOR YOUR MOBILE STORAGE CONTAINER DELIVERY

Before we deliver your Conex box, prepare your delivery area by ensuring that there are no low overhangs, arches, wires, trees or any other obstacles that could interfere with your delivery. It's a good idea to mark the space where you would like your steel container placed.

4

DELIVERY & SETUP

When our driver arrives, they will back our truck into the space where you would like your shipping container placed. Once we arrive, we will ensure that your container is delivered safely and securely. If placed on asphalt or pavement, we will use wood dunnage pads to make sure your ground surface is protected and the container is level.

HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT MOBILE CONTAINERS TO Rent, Buy OR Modify IN Ventura Business District, CA?

Check out our FAQ page or reach out to our helpful customer service team today @

909.341.4736

Latest News in Ventura Business District, CA

SHOPPING | Best of Ventura County 2021

Ventura County has no shortage of fun places to satisfy your shopping craving or necessities, and the usual suspects get plenty of traffic. But a few spots off the regular track are worthy of exploring, and of repeat visits. One of those is Downtown Fillmore. The city of Fillmore, along the Highway 126 corridor following the Santa Clara River and part of the region dubbed the Heritage Valley, is well known for its vintage train rides courtesy of the Fillmore and Western Railway Co., a genuinely unique experience in the county. But those seek...

Ventura County has no shortage of fun places to satisfy your shopping craving or necessities, and the usual suspects get plenty of traffic. But a few spots off the regular track are worthy of exploring, and of repeat visits. One of those is Downtown Fillmore. The city of Fillmore, along the Highway 126 corridor following the Santa Clara River and part of the region dubbed the Heritage Valley, is well known for its vintage train rides courtesy of the Fillmore and Western Railway Co., a genuinely unique experience in the county. But those seeking unique treasures as well will find them in the city’s downtown district as well, thanks to the vintage clothing stores and other specialty gifts shops in the area. Called the “last, best, small town” and founded in 1887 as the Western Pacific Railroad came to town, Fillmore has worked hard to maintain a historic feel during these modern times. Frequently used by filmmakers to take viewers back in time or mimic “anytown USA,” Fillmore’s Central Street shopping area at the east end of town is a don’t-miss shopping stop, particularly for the antique, vintage and upcycling fan. Fillmore has always had some great curio and thrift stores, but in recent years the offerings have been taken up a notch by new shop owners with a feel for steampunk, mid-century and modern reuse design. Tried and true shops like the Treasure Station, Vintage Pleasures and Heart and Soul Antiques are bustling with new finds. But if you haven’t checked out Ragtyme Station or ReGEN Haus, well, then, you haven’t shopped the new Fillmore. Think mod ceramics paired with clocks built from old engine parts. Long-lost antique pieces combined with gears, or tiles made into beautiful or interesting things for home spaces today. Some items pair a bit of whimsy with otherworldliness, like a human skeleton or taxidermy. With Halloween just around the bend, these shops are a must visit. It isn’t always just a blast from the past. Some stylish clothes can be found while strolling Central Avenue. B-Max offers modern pieces with a varied selection of tops, blouses, dresses and pants in the “Southern California style.” So tune into a good radio station, roll down the windows, leave the coast in the rear view window for the day and cruise east on the 126 for a day in Fillmore. — Kimberly Rivers Pictured: A midcentury shelf unit with mod curated ceramic pieces at Ragtyme Station, Fillmore.

Ventura to resume downtown parking meter fees Tuesday

Starting Tuesday, the city of Ventura will resume collecting parking meter fees for 153 on-street spaces downtown.It will cost 50 cents an hour to park in the spaces on California, Chestnut, Fir, Oak and Palm Streets, and a small section of Main Street bordering Mission Park.Prior to the city waiving the fees in March for COVID-19 related reasons, some of the spaces on California and Main streets cost $1 an hour, said city spokeswoman Heather Sumagaysay. The rest of the 153 spaces were 50 cents an hour.Now...

Starting Tuesday, the city of Ventura will resume collecting parking meter fees for 153 on-street spaces downtown.

It will cost 50 cents an hour to park in the spaces on California, Chestnut, Fir, Oak and Palm Streets, and a small section of Main Street bordering Mission Park.

Prior to the city waiving the fees in March for COVID-19 related reasons, some of the spaces on California and Main streets cost $1 an hour, said city spokeswoman Heather Sumagaysay. The rest of the 153 spaces were 50 cents an hour.

Now all of them will cost 50 cents an hour.

"And the reason for that is because we want to continue to encourage people to come downtown, but yet be sensitive to the financial struggles and hardships that are out there right now," Sumagaysay said.

The meters take coins and credit cards, but not bills, she said.

The city waived the fees to support local businesses offering curbside pick-ups following state and local shutdown orders issued due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

As the city has more recently begun to slowly open back up and demand for on-street parking has increased, its Downtown Parking Advisory Committee voted in September to resume the collection of the fees.

Reinstating the fees will help manage the parking demand, thus helping to ensure continued access to businesses, city officials say.

Paid parking also helps fund various downtown projects including security, parking lot and alley improvements, clean sidewalks, landscape beautification and lighting, the officials say.

The portion of Main Street where the parking fees will be charged is outside the five blocks that are closed to motor traffic under the "Main Street Moves" program, which allows small businesses hammered by COVID-19 restrictions to expand their operations outdoors.

Under the program, Main Street from the San Buenaventura Mission to Fir Street is open only to pedestrians and cyclists. Also closed to motor traffic under the program is one block of South California Street between Main and Santa Clara streets.

Other sections of California Street are not part of the "Main Street Moves" program and are still open to motor traffic, which will be charged the parking fees.

Though the fees will resume Tuesday, spaces for those with disabilities and for pick-up orders will remain free.

The city will have a two-week grace period before it begins ticketing vehicles that are not paying for parking in the 153 metered spaces, Sumagaysay said. During the grace period, scofflaws will receive warnings on their windshields, she said.

In addition to the metered spaces, there are more than 1,900 free public parking spaces in the downtown area, including a parking structure on Santa Clara Street between California and Chestnut streets, the city says.

Drivers who want to pay the parking fees without touching the meters during the coronavirus pandemic can download the ParkMobile app to any mobile device, Sumagaysay said.

More: It's more important than ever to get your flu vaccine, especially seniors

The app makes it easy to find, reserve and pay for parking on mobile devices, she said. Drivers can also set up alerts to remind them when their parking time is about to expire, she said.

To learn more about the app or to download it, visit parkmobile.io. Other fees may apply.

For more information about parking areas in the city, including a map of free and metered spaces downtown, go to cityofventura.ca.gov/parking.

Mike Harris covers the East County cities of Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks, as well as transportation countywide. You can contact him at mike.harris@vcstar.com or 805-437-0323.

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Ventura County supervisors plan search for successor after CEO Mike Powers retires abruptly

NOTE: This article was posted March 10 and updated March 11 with comments from members of the Board of Supervisors.Ventura County Executive Officer Mike Powers suddenly retired on March 10 after nearly 11 years as the county government’s top executive.Ashley Bautista, the county’s public information officer, said Powers told the Ventura County Board of Supervisors on that day that he was retiring, effective immediately, “to spend more time with his family.”The board will ...

NOTE: This article was posted March 10 and updated March 11 with comments from members of the Board of Supervisors.

Ventura County Executive Officer Mike Powers suddenly retired on March 10 after nearly 11 years as the county government’s top executive.

Ashley Bautista, the county’s public information officer, said Powers told the Ventura County Board of Supervisors on that day that he was retiring, effective immediately, “to spend more time with his family.”

The board will appoint an interim CEO at its next meeting, on March 22, Bautista said. In the meantime, the top ranking executive in county government is Assistant CEO Mike Pettit.

Three of the five members of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors — Linda Parks of Thousand Oaks, Bob Huber of Simi Valley and Matt LaVere of Ventura — declined to comment on Powers’ retirement.

Supervisor Carmen Ramirez, who represents the Oxnard area and chairs the board, said in a statement emailed to the Business Times that the county has “an excellent leadership team in place to assure continuity of operations while a new CEO is selected.”

“We are well-positioned with the staff and leaders we have in place to carry on with our key board priorities with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion,” she said.

Supervisor Kelly Long, whose district includes Camarillo, Santa Paula and Fillmore, said in a statement that she appreciates the work Powers did to lead the county through some especially difficult times, including the Thomas, Hill and Woolsey fires, the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in 2018 and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These issues require a dedication above and beyond the normal duties of an administrator,” Long said. “We will be looking for that same level of commitment as we embark on a process to recruitment for this position. I wish Mike and his family well in their next chapter.”

Powers, 59, became the CEO for Ventura County in April 2011.

“It’s been 11 years in the role and it was a privilege to serve,” he told the Business Times in a phone interview shortly after he informed the board of his retirement.

His retirement comes about eight months after the Ventura County Board of Supervisors approved a new five-year contract for the CEO. Powers received a 5% pay increase with that contract extension, bringing his annual salary to $328,975.

In his role as CEO, Powers oversaw the tri-county region’s biggest local government, with a budget of more $2.4 billion, nearly 10,000 employees and around 27 agencies and departments.

He worked for the county for around 30 years, starting as an attorney in the county counsel’s office. Before becoming CEO, he was director of the Ventura County Health Care Agency, the biggest county government agency.

He told the Business Times that the accomplishments he’s proudest of include improving the county’s credit ratings and building up its financial reserves, expanding its mental health and safety services, and “striking the right balance between services and finances.”

Powers said he thinks “things are in a good place” at the county as he steps down.

“I have a strong leadership team in place in every role in a good position … and a strong board,” he said.

Unprecedented water restrictions ordered as MWD declares water shortage emergency

Southern California officials on Tuesday took the unprecedented step of declaring a water shortage emergency and ordering outdoor usage be restricted to just one day a week for about 6 million people in parts of Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties.The outdoor watering restrictions will take effect June 1 under the decision by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and will apply to areas that depend on water from the drought-ravaged State Water Project.“We are seeing conditions unlike anything...

Southern California officials on Tuesday took the unprecedented step of declaring a water shortage emergency and ordering outdoor usage be restricted to just one day a week for about 6 million people in parts of Los Angeles, Ventura and San Bernardino counties.

The outdoor watering restrictions will take effect June 1 under the decision by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and will apply to areas that depend on water from the drought-ravaged State Water Project.

“We are seeing conditions unlike anything we have seen before,” said Adel Hagekhalil, the district’s general manager. “We need serious demand reductions.”

The MWD’s board has never before taken such a step and the resolution adopted by the water wholesaler will bring the first widespread water restrictions imposed in Southern California during the current extreme drought.

California’s drought, now in a third year, has become the driest on record and has been intensified by hotter temperatures unleashed by climate change. With the state’s major reservoirs at low levels, the MWD has been left without enough water in parts of Southern California.

“These areas rely on extremely limited supplies from Northern California, and there is not enough supply available to meet the normal demands in these areas for the remainder of the year,” Hagekhalil said.

The MWD board voted unanimously to adopt the emergency measures to “reduce non-essential water use” in certain areas. Cities and smaller water suppliers that get water from the MWD are required to start restricting outdoor watering to one day a week, or to find other ways to cut usage to a new monthly allocation limit.

Any water suppliers that fail to comply could face large fines from the MWD for exceeding their monthly allocations.

The State Water Project delivers water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to farmlands and cities to the south. The project includes canals, pipelines, reservoirs and pumping facilities, which transport water to approximately 27 million Californians.

After a record dry start to 2022, California water officials slashed the project’s expected deliveries this year to just 5% of full allocations.

Areas that depend heavily or entirely on the State Water Project include northwestern L.A. and Ventura counties, parts of the San Gabriel Valley and parts of the Inland Empire.

The MWD imports water from the State Water Project and the Colorado River, serving 26 public water agencies across six counties that supply 19 million people, about half the state’s population.

The district’s staff wrote that the measures are intended to conserve water supplies and “ensure that near-term human health and safety needs can be met.”

“We’re working together to solve what is a really, really tough and, quite frankly, unprecedented issue. None of us like what we’re doing. But we’re in a position where we’ve got to do it,” said Steve Blois, an MWD board member who represents Calleguas Municipal Water District. “The issue is, how are we going to get through this current drought without running out of water to serve the health and safety needs of our population? That has to be our No. 1 priority.”

Officials with Calleguas, which supplies water to a large portion of Ventura County, plan to meet to adopt measures in response to the emergency declaration. Anthony Goff, Calleguas’ general manager, said the measures are needed as the climate is “changing faster and in unexpected ways in terms of hydrology and the effect of temperature on snowpack.”

This year and the previous two have brought the region the lowest amount of water on record from the State Water Project, said Brad Coffey, the district’s manager of water resources. As local water suppliers adopt their reduction plans, Coffey said, the MWD will provide nearly $4.5 million to help with the costs of enforcement and other related programs.

Some of the area’s water suppliers have already been imposing restrictions. In western L.A. County, for example, Las Virgenes Municipal Water District has reduced its customers’ water budgets by 50%, with fines for violations.

Gov. Gavin Newsom in July called for Californians to voluntary reduce water use by 15%, but the state remains far from that goal. Last month, Newsom ordered urban water suppliers to implement more aggressive conservation measures, requiring them to activate “Level 2” of their local drought contingency plans to prepare for shortages. The governor also directed the state water board to consider a ban on watering “nonfunctional” grass at businesses and other properties.

During Tuesday’s meeting, managers of parks in Ventura County told the board they hoped the rules would not lead to a “one-size-fits-all” approach that would mean parks with dead grass. Hagekhalil responded that the district aims to implement the measures in a way that accommodates local cities’ and agencies’ ordinances and drought plans. But he also cautioned that more severe restrictions, including a possible total ban on outdoor irrigation, might be necessary if the drought persists.

“If these plans have exceptions to preserve public sports fields or parks ... we intend to accommodate that,” Hagekhalil said. “The decision-making is at the local level. And we recognize that. However, it must be noted that if we have to drop to deeper stages, like a full outdoor irrigation ban, then local exceptions will understandably start to fall away.”

Some who called in to speak said they were concerned the water restrictions could lead to many dead trees. Peter Kraut, a Calabasas City Council member, called the restrictions “insane but not unexpected.”

“I’m appalled that a change this drastic is happening in such a short period of time,” Kraut said. “This plan will result not just in brown grass but in killing countless trees. The damage to our environment will take decades to repair. It will cost ratepayers millions of dollars to remove the dead trees and plant new ones.”

Others echoed the concerns about trees, saying as the water restrictions take effect, it will be important for local agencies and residents to have information about how to let grass go brown while keeping trees alive.

Tracy Quinn, an MWD board member who represents Los Angeles, said she hopes the district can provide information to member agencies and customers, as Las Vegas does, “to ensure that our trees are protected.”

“This isn’t just a dry period. There’s also extreme heat that’s going along with it, and we need to make sure that we can protect against heat island effect and heat-related illnesses,” Quinn said.

Other board members said they support the restrictions but also stressed it was important to help areas that rely heavily or entirely on the State Water Project to get access to other sources of water, such as Colorado River water.

“Everyone’s in a drought. But the fact that only some of us are impacted by the actual water shortage today is a grave concern,” said Heather Repenning, a board member who represents Los Angeles. “And we really need to figure out a fix that is going to allow us to access storage in a way that is equitable.”

Hagekhalil said the MWD is working on infrastructure projects “to diversify and provide the necessary plumbing to move Colorado water to these areas” and also create alternative water sources.

Officials with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power are considering their next steps based on the MWD’s shortage emergency declaration.

“LADWP has been closely tracking the policy recommendations considered by the MWD Board today. We will continue to work closely with City officials and MWD over the coming weeks,” Ellen Cheng, a DWP spokesperson, said in an email.

The city has had watering restrictions in place for more than a decade and currently allows outdoor watering three days a week.

“Additional water use restrictions should be balanced against the high level of conservation that has already been achieved by LADWP customers,” Cheng said.

In addition to water from the state project, Los Angeles receives water from the Eastern Sierra and the Colorado River.

The Colorado River, which supplies water to seven states and Mexico, is in a first-ever shortage. Its major reservoirs have declined to record-low levels.

Quinn said that given the extreme shortage on the Colorado River, she thinks it might be time to consider expanding water restrictions to other parts of Southern California.

Mixed-use condominium development in downtown Ventura's east end moves forward

The city of Ventura's vision of the east end of downtown as a walkable, mixed-use neighborhood center is getting closer to reality.On Wednesday night, the Planning Commission approved plans for a mixed-use building with condominiums at Front and Laurel Streets.The applicant, Front & Laurel LLC, proposes tearing down five commercial industrial buildings at the northwest corner of Laurel Street and Front Street and replacing them with a four-story mixed-use building. The building would include 46 condominium un...

The city of Ventura's vision of the east end of downtown as a walkable, mixed-use neighborhood center is getting closer to reality.

On Wednesday night, the Planning Commission approved plans for a mixed-use building with condominiums at Front and Laurel Streets.

The applicant, Front & Laurel LLC, proposes tearing down five commercial industrial buildings at the northwest corner of Laurel Street and Front Street and replacing them with a four-story mixed-use building. The building would include 46 condominium units, including five affordable units, and the ground floor would feature five commercial tenant spaces.

The project is located within the Downtown Specific Plan, which is intended to be the most heavily developed area in the city. The area surrounding the intersection of Front and Kalorama streets is designated as the East End Neighborhood Center of downtown and is zoned for high-density, mixed-use buildings with retail space, offices and apartments.

This neighborhood, like many downtown areas in Southern California, is shifting to meet the demand for housing. Ventura and other local cities are now prioritizing infill development, which develops vacant or underutilized lots within existing urban areas, instead of extending out into suburban areas or open space on the edge of city boundaries.

"Previously, this area was heavily industrial manufacturing, but what we've seen now is an area quite in transition," said Maruja Clensay, senior planner for the city of Ventura. Clensay highlighted several other new and planned developments near the proposed project site, including Transmission Brewing and Toppers Pizza on Front Street.

Another mixed-use project, the 44-unit Laurel Courts, is proposed for the southeast corner of Laurel and Front Streets. And a 45-unit, three-story apartment building is in development at the corner of Kalorama Street and Thompson Boulevard. The project is also near the 231-unit Coastline Ventura project and right next to the proposed Front Street Public Market.

All of these projects are reshaping the neighborhood from a mix of industrial and heavy retail uses into a walkable area with commercial businesses and residential units.

"The existing low-density development is now making way for a new chapter of life in downtown," said project architect Nicholas Deitch. "As described by the Downtown Specific Plan, this new chapter will include diverse multi-use buildings and meet the needs of a broad and presently underserved spectrum of our community."

The meeting Wednesday drew a mix of public comments, with some supporting the idea of a mixed-use walkable neighborhood and emphasizing the need for more housing.

"This is an option to create the next generation of contemporary housing for next generation residents in an up-and-coming area," said one Ventura resident, who called the neighborhood "The Front Zone" and compared it to Santa Barbara's Funk Zone.

Stephanie Caldwell, president and CEO of the Ventura Chamber of Commerce, spoke in support of the project and called the city's lack of housing "the largest impediment to economic growth."

Opponents of the project raised concerns about the building's four-story size and traffic, and questioned whether the project fits the community.

"Three stories seems reasonable, and I am so offended when [the architect] talked about these beautiful views residents will have when the people behind them will have their views cut off, and that is absolutely wrong and unfair," said one woman, who described herself as a 28-year resident of Ventura.

The owner of a neighboring property at 955 E. Front St. opposed the neighborhood's shifting aesthetics, and said he "has no intention of turning my building into some sort of yuppie condos like this."

The city was limited in its ability to deny the project under the state's Housing Accountability Act, which states that if the city's general plan, specific plan or zoning for a site allows housing, then the city cannot deny housing for that site or require the applicant to build fewer units than what is allowed, unless there is a clear public safety issue.

Under another state law, the Density Bonus Law, projects with affordable housing can request increased density or other concessions to what is normally allowed under the city's zoning. Because the Laurel and Front Streets project includes five affordable housing units, the developer is entitled to one concession. As a concession, the applicant requested a larger fourth-story floor area than what is typically allowed, which some Planning Commissioners took issue with.

"That request for the additional massing can be made, even if it goes against the established and adopted standards? They can say city, you have to throw aside your height standards so that we can have this particular concession?" asked Commissioner Nancy Francis.

Community Development Director Peter Gilli explained that the development code allows four-story buildings, and even would have allowed a five-story building at that site. The zoning allows for fourth-story square footage of 25 percent of the lot size, but the developer requested to increase this to 45 percent.

Development:

Under state housing law, the developer's requested concession cannot be denied unless it causes a clear health, safety or environmental issue.

"It is staff's consensus that if we turned down this concession and were challenged in court, we would lose," said Gilli.

In addition to the fourth-story square footage concerns, Commissioners Scott McCarty and Jennifer Miller questioned whether the project was a good fit overall for the community.

"I believe that what you are looking for can be done here in Ventura, but this is not quite the right project to do it as it is proposed," said McCarty.

"Walkability has been raised a lot. I'd like to know where everybody is walking to? There's no grocery stores in the vicinity and in terms of employment I don't know what jobs everybody is walking to," Miller said.

Commissioner Lucas Zucker noted that the development is in walking distance of major employers like Patagonia.

"It is a reality that we are in a housing crisis, and that the state is asking us to build more housing as each city and that we do have a jobs and housing imbalance within the city of Ventura," he said. "As housing developments go, this is one of the better developments we could have. It isn't on hillsides or farmland in a fire risk area, and it is not in danger of displacing any housing or demolishing anything beautiful or historic structures."

The Planning Commission ultimately voted 4-2 to approve the project, with Commissioners Miller and McCarty voting no and Commissioner Kara Davis absent.

Erin Rode covers housing, real estate and development for The Star. Reach her at erin.rode@vcstar.com or 805-437-0312.

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